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Join Us for Man Camp!

Posted by on April 12, 2019

Join Us for MAN CAMP 2019!

by Greg Sporko, Conference Staff

It’s that time of the year again! Day by day it is getting warmer, the snow and ice are melting, and before you know it, summer will be here! In the meantime, we are all looking forward to what is approaching beforehand, Man Camp! This weekend will be an incredible chance to give back to Brookwoods and Deer Run by preparing for the upcoming summer, including our 75thAnniversary celebration! It will be a fun weekend to come together as a group of men, to work hard, and enjoy God’s creation. (Not to mention there will be amazing food!)

We couldn’t be more excited to host a new face this year, Morgan McCray, as our guest speaker. Morgan and his wife, Megan, run a year-long discipleship program at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, MD called “Converge.” Our weekend theme is “Unstoppable,” focusing on Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” When we truly strive to deepen our understanding of Christ, it is at those moments when we begin to know our own identity. If we are sons of the King and He is for us no matter what happens, then we can walk boldly with confidence towards anything that we encounter. Some might say we will be truly “Unstoppable.” Our hope for the weekend is that we will come together as brothers in Christ and will encourage one another in this undeniable way of life. We hope that you can join us at Camp, a place that God uses to shape and mold lives, including our own!

WHO: Men: brothers, sons, uncles, grandfathers, who love Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run and MRO that are ages 12 and up.

BRING: Bedding (sleeping bag, sheets, blanket, pillow), Bible, journal, layers of clothing (i.e. keep an eye on the weather), toiletries, and any specialty tools that can be used for projects.

WHEN: Friday, May 3, 2019 through Sunday, May 5, 2019. Please plan on arriving between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. A formal welcome and worship time will follow dinner. However, if you would like to come early and get a head start on projects, please let us know, we’d love to have you!

You can register for Man Camp 2019 here!

P.S.  If you’d also like to go to Maine, MRO Work Weekend is May 31-June 2. Contact Adam here for details.

 

Greg Sporko is currently serving on our Conference Staff team and will be on Brookwoods Trip Staff this summer. If you have questions about Man Camp, please email him greg@christiancamps.net.

 

 

 

MRO Tripping Adventure

Posted by on April 5, 2019

MRO Tripping Adventure

by Jason Weyer, Moose River Outpost Trip Director

I can’t remember how many hours we took to climb the 1800ft of elevation to get to the top of Boundary Bald Mountain. I can remember my anticipation growing as we neared the summit. It was a clear day with a blue bird sky and I knew the view was going to be amazing. We had worked hard to climb this mountain. Every step we took was one more further away from the incredible amenities of MRO, from the camp store, and from bathrooms. In fact, from the summit of Bald Mountain we were so far away from camp that we were able to cover up all that we had left behind with just our thumbs. Heald Pond and all 7,000 acres of Moose River Outpost. Mount Kineo to the east looked like a giant misty blue turtle swimming in Moose Head Lake. And to the North, Canada as far as the eye could see. It is dizzying to have such a view and my eyes needed time to adjust to the absolute grandeur. What an experience.

Experiences like these only happen because of an immense amount of effort made by many people. It takes a lot of effort from the campers to challenge themselves physically and emotionally. It takes a lot of effort from Trip Staff to plan routes, know safety procedures, prepare the necessary food and equipment, and to make sure each camper’s needs are being met. All of the effort from everyone is ultimately worth it. Just as Jesus doesn’t call us into a life of comfort, we are challenging our campers to give up their comforts for something better. Jesus also challenges us to love our neighbor and tells us it will be a lot of effort. He wants a life of dependence on Him, who loves us and cares for us. This is what our Tripping Staff strives to mirror & teach on the trails, daily with our campers.

James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…”

Being a part of a group on the trail in a remote wilderness environment provides our campers with unique authentic challenges that allow opportunities for real, long lasting growth. Our highly trained staff and counselors ensure that our campers are given the support they need to meet those challenges. A sojourn in the wilderness produces a sense of community where we can talk to one another about things that really matter. Cultivating a Christ-centered community. We all have experienced the harshness and effort it takes in being a Christian in today’s culture, especially when you find it difficult to articulate the basic principles of our faith. Building a community and a safe environment to learn and practice articulating the basic principles of our faith is the type of relationship we try to achieve with each camper.

 

P.S. For you Brookwoods and Deer Run campers, Boundary Bald is MRO’s Mt. Major, but with a view of camp!

Jason and Amy Weyer have been serving MRO since 2015. This will be Jason’s third summer as Trip Director and Amy will continue to fill roles wherever she is needed in camp life. They have four children: Samantha (12), William (8), Vaughn (6), and Marcus (5). This will be Samantha’s second summer at Deer Run, and the three boys are looking forward to going on hikes, skipping rocks, carpet ball, Polish ping pong, and the GaGa Pit. You can email Jason here.

 

Mind Your PQTs

Posted by on March 22, 2019

Mind Your PQTs

by Lis Schuman, Deer Run Camp Pastor, Alumna

Camp is a wonderful place to grow spiritually. Daily chapel and Bible study keep the focus on God in the midst of the fun. The cabin is a central part of the camper’s spiritual experience. Each day, counselors use a prepared curriculum to share Bible studies with their cabin as a group, but another important part of the daily schedule is what some campers call “PQT” – Personal Quiet Time.

Campers have Personal Quiet Time – PQT

After breakfast and cabin clean up, the campers find a space – inside or outside – to spend time alone with God. Some use a devotional to guide that time. Some keep a journal, some read their Bibles, some pray. Some are not quite sure what to do…

If you’re anything like me, I can get distracted pretty easily, especially when I am doing something quiet and alone! God knows our weaknesses and our tendency to lose focus, and yet He still invites us to spend this time with Him each day. When Jesus walked this earth, He would steal away to spend time alone with His Father. As we are to live our lives modeled after Christ, how are we to do PQTs well? Here are a few guidelines to help us:

  1. Focus on God’s Word. Devotional books can be a great tool when studying God’s Word, but they should not replace reading the Word itself. Prayerfully choose a book of the Bible and begin to work through it, even if you cover only a few verses a day. Some passages may have a loud, clear message that we can easily identify. Some passages may not be so clear. Persevere. Finish the book. God’s Word is complete, and He has something to say through the entirety of His Word, not just in certain verses.
  2. Trust God to teach you. Sometimes we read a passage and are not sure what it means. We can ask God to help us understand what He is saying to us. The cry of the psalmist in Psalm 119:33-34 can be our own: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes… Give me understanding, that I may observe your law, and keep it with all my heart.”
  3. Keep it consistent. In Joshua 1:8, the Lord instructs us: “’This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.’” It’s not easy, but if God calls us to do it, He will also equip us to do it. Be realistic about when and how long you can read God’s Word each day. Then do it. Everyday. If you miss a day, pick it back up again the next day. Just as an athlete works his or her body to strengthen it and create “muscle memory” for his or her sport, we Christians hone our spiritual bodies through consistent practice.

So as our campers head to camp this summer, know that they will have PQT every morning. During your own PQT, pray for them – that they will keep focused on God and His Word, that He will teach them and give them understanding, and that they will remain consistent and walk with Him.

Lis (Waldron) Schuman and her husband, Eric, have four campers – two at Deer Run and two at Brookwoods. Lis and Eric were counselors in the mid-90s and since 2017 Lis has been serving as Camp Pastor of Deer Run and Eric as the BASIC Coordinator. In their non-camp lives, both Lis and Eric are Spanish teachers. Eric has been known to sing in Spanish if he is ever called up for “Sing Us a Song.” You can email Lis here.

 

 

The Colors of Camp

Posted by on March 15, 2019

The Colors of Camp

by Sarah Cohen, Program Director

Regardless of which years each of us spent at camp, I bet similar colors and scenes come to mind when we reflect on our time there. I can close my eyes and picture the black, blue, red, and yellow rings of an archery target, set against the backdrop of lush green trees. Or at the waterfront I see the weathered white of the H-pier and the classic red, white and blue sails of the sunfish, filling Chestnut Cove.  Up at the Craft Shop there is a beige layer of sawdust on the floor and fresh white ceramics lining the walls. On the front lawn I see a neon, spray painted model rocket launching high into the bright blue sky.

Rocket launch on the Front Lawn

Our activities are colorful in nature, but they are also colorful in variety. Just as a balanced diet of different foods is important for our health, a balance of rich learning experiences is healthy for our children. Camp is a wonderful, non-committal environment to try new things. If something piques your interest, you can do it again, working towards mastery of your goals and earning awards. If it’s not your thing, there are so many other choices to try out next! How many of us have tried something for the first time at camp and then went on to pursue it as a lifelong hobby?

At Brookwoods and Deer Run, campers sign up every weekend for three new activities for the following week. It’s a crazy, loud, somewhat overwhelming process as campers try to decide what they want to take, when they want to take it, and with whom. There are certain activities that always fill up right away.  Wyn Byker consistently has a long, very straight line for Archery.

Aiming straight in ArcheryWomen of the Wild practice wilderness skillsNew pajama pants made in Sewing

The campers signing up for wake-boarding and waterskiing form a rowdier clump, but are just as enthusiastic. Some of the popular activities are ones you might not expect, and every summer it seems to be a different trend. Junior Unit campers can’t get enough of Women of the Wild or Boys of the Backwoods, an introductory nature exploration and wilderness skills class. Volleyball has been incredibly popular in recent years, especially at Deer Run. Two summers ago the entire Bear cabin wanted to take Sewing!  They made themselves pajama pants and many of them were sporting those pants the following summer, as LDP 1s. As you can imagine, cake decorating is another new and desired activity, and not just because campers get to eat their work! Summer after summer, the couches of Moose Hall are filled as John Harutunian reads C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books.

God created a beautiful and vibrant world for us to enjoy. As His children, we are just as unique and varied in our gifts and abilities. I have great joy in watching campers not only learn about God’s love, but also experiencing who God made them to be as they embrace challenges and celebrate their accomplishments.

Sarah Cohen loves her job as the Brookwoods and Deer Run Program Director. Other jobs she’s held at camp include Whitetail counselor, Junior Unit Director, and LDP counselor. Sarah is a former 2nd grade teacher, now stay-at-home mom who brings her whole crew to camp every summer! She is mom to three future campers, Jacqueline (5), Paul (2), and Audrey (5 months). Jacqueline loves breakfast cookout and can be found “selling” free sticks or painted rocks by the Eagle. George Bowling calls Sarah “Crash.” You’ll have to ask her why at Brookwoods 75th!  If you have questions about camp contact Sarah here!

 

3 Ways Into a Holy Lent

Posted by on March 8, 2019

3 Ways Into a Holy Lent

by Matthew Kozlowski, alumnus

Most Christian holidays have joyful greetings: Merry Christmas! Happy Easter! But as for Lent…not so much. I’ve never had someone wish me a “Happy Lent”. This 40-day season before Easter is unique. Yes there is joy, but the deep meaning of Lent is found in prayer, self-reflection, and growing closer to Jesus.

Ok, so Lent might not be the most fun season of the Christian year. But think of it this way: Lent is like the camp worship song “Days of Elijah”— it’s coming whether or not you’re ready.

How might you live into a holy Lent this year? Here are three suggestions:

1. Take an Inventory
As a Brookwoods counselor, I remember the last days of camp when we cleaned and put everything away. All supplies had to be counted, whether they were sailboats or Nerf balls. What was missing? What was in good condition?

In Lent, we do the same thing, but with our spiritual lives. We take inventory, asking: What’s bringing me closer to God? What’s drawing me away? What don’t I need anymore? What’s broken? What’s working well? This process may sting a bit, but it can also feel really good—especially, if we ask God for the grace to be honest and the strength to make changes.

2. Consider Others First

The 40 days of Lent mirror the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, fasting, praying, and resisting the devil. Notice how Satan tempted Jesus to do miracles that were self-centered tricks: feed yourself by turning stones into bread…jump from a height and be caught by angels. Jesus refused. He knew that his power was mainly for the sake of others. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, ESV).

In Lent, we follow Christ’s example by considering others before ourselves. Be generous, not just with money, but with time and intention. Write a card, send an uplifting text, or take an extra minute to call. A friend of mine once said that Brookwoods was the first place he knew where people asked, “How are you?” and really meant it. That’s the kind of spiritual generosity we can practice in Lent.

3. Give Something Up, for the Right Reasons

It may be old-fashioned, but I still give something up for Lent. Some people give up chocolate, or Facebook, or the snooze button. This is good. But it’s important to ask: what’s the point? If the goal is self-improvement, I think we miss the mark. Lent should not be a 40-day diet or self-help program.

Instead, Lent is a time to grow closer to Jesus Christ, full stop. Giving something up helps us focus on Jesus, and lean on Him. Think of it this way, when you remove something from your life, how will you fill that empty space? A wise minister told me that when he fasts, he prays for the Holy Spirit to fill him. The Spirit always shows up—you can count on it. Just like “Days of Elijah” showing up at the end of camp worship—you count on it.

The Rev. Matthew Kozlowski is an associate priest at All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, MD. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Danielle, and two daughters. “Koz” was a counselor at Brookwoods and Moose River between 2002-2005, where he taught sailing and wrote mildly amusing skits for the Staff Special. matthew.koz@gmail.com